Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

China Military Parade Marks Japan’s WWII Defeat And Xi Jinping’s Authority

China's President Xi Jinping is presiding over a vast military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender. It's the biggest event in Beijing since the 2008 Olympics and provides Xi his first opportunity to publicly present himself as China's commander in chief. Such events, usually held on every 10th anniversary of the country's founding, serve as a key ritual in establishing the Communist Party chief's supreme authority over the country.

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    The pageant, titled "Victory of the Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War" features more than 12,000 soldiers, almost 200 of China’s latest aircraft and armory, including mobile ballistic missile launchers capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the continental U.S.

    Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
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    Foreign leaders including presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Park Geun Hye of South Korea attend the military parade. U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande stayed at home.

    Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images
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    People's Liberation Army troops look out from a bus as they arrive at Tiananmen Gate to take part in the parade. 

    Photographer: Getty Images
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    Military aircraft release colored trails above Beijing's central business district. Authorities left nothing to chance ahead of the parade, ordering cars off the road and halting factories to limit pollution, and even deploying monkeys, falcons and dogs to scare birds from the flight path of the planes that will fly over the capital.

    Photographer: Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo
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    Military vehicles carrying shore-to-ship missiles drive past the Tiananmen Gate. The parade involves more than 500 pieces of military hardware, representing what military officials say is the Chinese military's most cutting-edge technology.

    Photographer: Getty Images
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    Shen Jilan wearing insignias and medals sits, ahead of the military parade. Shen, 85, is the only person in China to be elected 12 consecutive times as a member of China's parliament, after she was appointed to China's first National People's Congress in 1954, according to local media.

    Photographer: Getty Images
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    A Chinese military brass band and choir stand in position ahead of a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

    Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images
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    Chinese soldiers march past Tiananmen Square. China traditionally puts on a military pageant every 10th anniversary of its founding in 1949. The war anniversary gave Xi the opportunity to have one four years early.

    Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
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    Chinese military helicopters fly in formation over the city of Beijing during a military parade. The decision to hold the parade was a sign of how Xi has become one of the country’s most powerful leaders since Mao Zedong.

    Photographer: Fred Dufour/AFP via Getty Images
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    A military vehicle carrying an unmanned aerial vehicle participates in a military parade. President Xi Jinping told the world that China was committed to peace and announced the biggest cuts to the army in almost two decades.

    Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images
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    Female honor guards of the People's Liberation Army arrive at Tiananmen Square for the parade. Xi said that army personnel would be reduced by 300,000, the largest reduction to the 2.3 million-strong military since 1997.

    Photographer: Song Fan/Imaginechina/AP Photo
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    Pedestrians walk past a television showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at the parade. The government curtailed TV programming that didn’t conform to theme of the parade or China’s victory in World War II. State media highlighted the event as a historic occasion, but the parade route itself was off-limits to the vast majority of Beijing's citizens.

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    President Xi Jinping's motorcade. For Xi, the parade was also an opportunity to offer a distraction from a flood of bad news weighing on the Chinese public, from the warehouse explosions in nearby Tianjin last month that killed at least 158 people, to the slowing economy, to a stock-market rout that’s erased $5 trillion of value.

    Photographer: Ng Han Guan/AP Images
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    Chinese soldiers take part in the flag-raising ceremony prior to a military parade at Tiananmen Square.

    Photographer: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images